SoftBank Said in Talks to Invest $1.4 Billion in India’s Paytm

201705.02
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SoftBank Group Corp. is in talks to invest about $1.4 billion in India’s One97 Communications Ltd. in a deal that would value the owner of the country’s largest digital-payments provider at about $7 billion, according to people familiar with the matter.

The deal is not yet finalized and the terms may yet change, said the people, asking not to be identified because the matter is private. One97 Communications, whose Paytm unit has seen business surge as India took most of its paper bills from circulation, has also had discussions with two other investors, one of the people said. The company was last valued at $4.2 billion, according to research firm CB.

The Paytm deal would be a vote of confidence in the India market amidst a brutal downturn in the venture market. Hundreds of fledgling companies are cutting staff or closing their doors. Indeed, SoftBank is said to be pressingSnapdeal, an Indian e-commerce provider it backs, to merge operations with market leader Flipkart Online Services Pvt. in what would be a dramatic sign of consolidation in the market.

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